Monday, August 13, 2007

The Spectacular is History

It's over, thank goodness. It was a hectic week, a lot of waiting and killing time and tension. But it is over. And it was good fun and we met a whole lot of wonderful folks while we toiled as figurants #99 and #100 in our local history pageant.

The big day began with us reporting for duty, expecting to go over the last refinements of the program, at 11:00 am with our costumes and our folding chairs. Unfortunately, as has happened so often, we were victims of an informational error and we weren't expected until 3:00. Okay. We went home and showed up again at 3:00 for the second parade through town in our Noble person costumes. You can see Nancy and I walking down Cours St. Jaques having just passed the bar where our fan club was having refreshments. We traipsed through town, and eventually filed back to the chateau where the Spectacular was to take place. Backstage, Nancy and I changed costumes, which was what every other player was doing as well.

As had happened the day before, people showed up with their own costumes, medieval, Belle Epoch, Roman, gladiator, you name it. The advertising for the Spectacular says that you can come in costume and join the parade. I would say the participants in the Spectacular were joined by an equal number of costumed folks there for the sole purpose of parading through town with us. Remarkable, no?

Only after seeing these photographs by the esteemed neighbor and good friend Alan Simmons, was I aware that a member of the U.S. Cavalry was in the parade. I don't know why or who or where he came from but there he was. He was not in the Spectacular, and he's probably not American or a cavalryman, but he's pictured right in front of our house.

You can see me in my monk's costume as Simon de Montfort on horseback is extolling the Pope's army to go out and kill the simple, peace loving Cathars. You can see Nancy and I in our noble costumes parading and smiling on cue, and Nancy in her paysan costume doing something vaguely agricultural, harvesting invisible wheat, perhaps. The marauding gang of fur-bearing heathens are Huns attacking unsuspecting paysans.

The Spectacular went along without a hitch. Nothing that distracted from the enjoyment the passel of spectators were enjoying, anyway. But late in the play, one young man had a wardrobe malfunction. (I love it that we now have terminology for this event.) He was in his fourth or fifth change of costume and was strolling in his 1870's finery, top hat, morning coat, vest, with two damsels on either side, when his pants fell down. He was basically window dressing at the time and everyone's attention was focused elsewhere. He calmly walked along until such time as he could unobtrusively pull up his pants, and hold them there. But, I'm telling you, it was funny.

The horses and horsemen were great. Jousting, acrobatics, the Spectacular had it all. The horsemanship and what the presence of the big critters added to the event cannot be underestimated. Without the horses, it would have been something akin to a school play with better costumes. With the horses it approached spectacular.

A nice final touch to our first 'performance' on foreign soil was that the cast, rather than escaping to the dressing arbor to change into civilian clothes, applauds the audience as they exit the prairie du Chateau. In costume, we lined the walkway leading up to the road and clapped and cheered for the approximate thousand spectators.


Anonymous said...

Splendid! I loved it all! Luke thanks you for the explanation of the American cavalryman NOT belonging in the pageant...his picture confused me for a moment! I thought that perhaps one of Custer's doomed had men escaped to France! HA!

Now the pregnant question...will you do this again next that you have the whole concept "down pat"?

Thanks for sharing your theatrical adventure with all of us out here in "Blogland"!

Anonymous said...

I love it! WOW! Quelle spectacular!
Did you ever figure out what the Gone With The Wind people were doing?
Would you ever have done something like this in Moab or Livingston? Maybe.. but the sheer fact that you were somewhat clueless as to what was going on makes this so much more interesting.
Quel bon teatre!

Doug said...

There was a scene in the Spectacular that we don't understand at all. But it was 1870 or so, La Belle Epoch. It involved soldiers, horses, a little old lady in a real cute military uniform, crinonline dresses, men in top hats. It was the scene with the wardrobe malfucnction. Perhaps we will find out one day.

nancy said...

Will we recreate our parts in next year's Spectacular??? Ah, the million Euro question. Since we don't know our return dates to Leran for 2008, we can't commit. Plus, will they want les americains back???? Maybe I could move up to tribunal, or parasol-twirler, or, shudder the thought, one of the Huns.....see, I'm already planning.

d said...

i think i recognize this cavalcade - it appears to be a reenactment of the discovery of what we now call maple syrup - aka "le bon jus pour les jacques de flap" - unfortunately the US cavalry (portrayed by monsieur simmons) made off with the secret recipe many years ago and the french people were stuck with plain (but delightful!) honey (portrayed by monsieur reid) for their morning meals - history is so ALIVE in leran!

Anonymous said...

d- Is that you
david? You have some nicely warped humor.
A. (Amy)

Doug said...


Have your doctor check your prescriptions and see if some combination of drugs you are taking causes one to hallucinate. Or maybe its the espresso on top of the wine. In any case, keep up the weird comments.

Noah said...

You guys are awesome. That looks like so much fun, and Doug, without your glasses and with that big smile on your face you look like a giant 6 foot smiling baby! You have such an innocent round face. I love it. Good for you guys.